Archer Wiki
Archer Wiki

Slater holding his gun

Introduction :

The character of "Agent Slater" is obviously played by Christian Slater (True Romance, Interview with the Vampire, Love Lies Bleeding, Soldiers of Fortune, Nymphomaniac amongst many many other movies, plus many appearances in TV series like All My Children, L.A Law, The West Wing, Alias, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Rick and Morty)...

Agent Slater's character is a CIA agent who reveals himself to have a significant role in the outcome of the "Archer Vice" phase. After that, he regularly offers missions to ISIS in the name and interest of the CIA. He appears in numbers of episodes such as "Archer Vice : On the Carpet", "Archer Vice : Arrival/Departure", "Three To Tango", "Sitting", "Pocket Listing", "The Kanes" or "Drastic Voyage" (part I and II).

History and status of the character, recurring comical themes and cultural references :

ArrivalsDepartures img2

Slater's first appearance starts in the middle of the episode called "On the Carpet" (during the "Archer Vice" phase). He plays a presumed drug dealer who Archer, Ray and Cyril meet after stealing a plane full of cocaine in the Colombian jungle and following a map found inside that said plane. If Slater first appears as a simple drug dealer, Archer quickly presumes that him and his team are "ex-military" because of their look and equipment (notably the bean bag shotgun Slater uses to shoot Archer when he gets out of the plane). To justify their presence on the plane, they pretend to be legitimate cocaine movers and give Slater fake identities. Instead of the money compensation Archer was hoping to get, Slater loads their plane with weapons to be delivered to Gustavo Calderone ("Don't worry, Calderone's good for the money"). That deal introduces the following episodes playing in San Marcos, but the fact that Slater is a CIA agent is only confirmed during the "Arrival/Departure" episode, which also reveals that the cocaine ISIS tried to sell all throughout the "Vice" phase came directly from the CIA's annual extra budget, which also financed the communist insurgency in San Marcos as well as Calderone's army supplies, thus assuring the reassignment of the aforementioned extra budget for the following year. The role of the CIA in that plot is an obvious satire of their most controversial secret operations actually planned in South America (mostly during the cold war) that lead to various scandals over their revelation.

In his words, Agent Slater has to be called "ONLY Slater" because it is, "a mononym", which becomes a recurring joke at the beginning of the "Three To Tango" episode, when Malory can't help herself from calling him "Mister Slater".

Just like almost every other masculine character in Archer, Slater rapidly becomes the target of Sterling's teasing. Among many other things, Archer once mention the fact that he always wear the same thing ; a t-shirt that reads "Cuong's motorbike adventure". This might be a reference to the implication of the OSS/CIA's influence on the beginning and development of the Vietnamese war. The Cuong's motorbike adventure, born in Vietnam, notably retraces the "Ho Chi Minh's trail" as a yearly scheduled motorbike trip across the country ; a trail that was used by the North Vietnamese to resupply the ones of their forces located in the south throughout the war. The fact that its aesthetics is really similar to many American motorcycle clubs adds another comical layer, because it looks like a t-shirt any mere American guy could wear everyday.

The fact that he's one of the only characters in the all series who gave his voice and face to its own avatar means this can be understood as a way of breaking down the fourth wall, which is a recurring pattern in many many productions such as South Park, The Simpsons, American Dad, Community, Curb Your Enthusiasm, or even some of Woody Allen's movies for instance ; but these are a few examples within an almost infinite list. The idea of "breaking down the fourth wall" consists in inserting a sample of reality (in this case, an actual actor) within a fictional system (TV series, movie, book or otherwise). This principle can also consist in introducing a fictional character into a set-up that emulates reality, though reversing the logic of that said fictional system. That principle can also be simply be achieved by giving the possibility for a fictional character to directly address the audience, while, for instance, looking into the lens of the camera. There are, of course, other examples that could be mentioned to describe that principle. Among other things, the fact that two of the episodes in which Slater's appear are also the ones in which you can see "TV's Micheal Gray" playing its own role ("Drastic Voyage" part I and II), might be understood as a way to insist on the comical dimension of that principle (Micheal Gray is also mentioned in the episode called "Fugue and Riffs", when Archer tries to remember the actor playing one of the main characters on the "Shazam" TV show).

*There might be many things I didn't get and I may have done some syntactic and/or orthographic errors in this article due to the fact that I'm not American (or that my native language isn't even English). So I would be happy to have someone re-reading and correcting it !